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'Oregon by the Numbers: Key Measures for Oregon and its Counties' breaks down important data by county.

PMG PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - 'Oregon by the Numbers: Key Measures for Oregon and its Counties,' is an effort sponsored by the Ford Family Foundation in concert with the Oregon State University Extension Service.

An annual snapshot of where Oregon stands as a state, broken down by each of its 36 counties and revealing their strengths and weaknesses, has both good news and not-so-good news about Yamhill County in particular.

"Oregon by the Numbers: Key Measures for Oregon and its Counties," is an effort sponsored by the Ford Family Foundation in concert with the Oregon State University Extension Service.

"As with prior years, we hope Oregon by the Numbers helps you learn something about the place where you live as well as other parts of the state," Anne Kubisch, president of the Ford Family Foundation, wrote in the forward of the publication. "One of our goals is to help all of Oregon see all of Oregon."

The publication has been assembled since 2006, when the foundation funded creation of the Rural Communities Explorer, a web-based tool housed at OSU that collects reams of population-level data, primarily in six broad categories: demographics and land, community, education, economics, health and infrastructure.

What the report reveals about Yamhill County ranges from analysis about population trends and income, to life expectancy, racial composition and key industries.

Population

The population of Yamhill County — based on the last U.S. Census, the most recent data from the American Community Survey and five-year estimates updated annually — is roughly 103,820. That places Yamhill as the tenth most populated county in the state, followed primarily by urban counties such as Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas.

"Changes in population occur through births, deaths and migration," the report said. "Shifts in total population can affect funding from state and federal agencies. Such changes also suggest the extent to which the county is attracting new residents or whether the economy is prospering or struggling."

Households in financial hardship

Yamhill County holds the distinction of being one where 56% of its households' (third highest in the state) fall above the federal poverty line but below what is called the "ALICE Threshold." ALICE is an acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained and represents "the growing number of households in our country that do not earn enough income to afford the basic necessities" on a daily basis, the report said. Those necessities are listed as food, housing, transportation, health care, childcare and a smartphone plan.

Households in the ALICE Threshold don't qualify for many assistance programs, but nonetheless "cannot save or build wealth because they do not earn enough to survive financially in our modern economy."

The report found that Yamhill is among the counties where if the head of the household is younger than age 65, the minimum annual income required to provide basic necessities is $50,000. Those households where the primary breadwinner is age 65 or older must bring in $40,000 just to provide the basic necessities of life.

Employment/industries

PMG FILE PHOTO - Like much of the state, Yamhill is among counties where educational services and food services/drinking places top the list of employment opportunities.

Like much of the state, Yamhill is among counties where educational services and food services/drinking places top the list of employment opportunities.

Median income

Yamhill County's median income is $59,484, placing it seventh in the state behind Washington, Clackamas, Multnomah, Deschutes, Hood River and Columbia counties.

The classification is defined in the report as the household income value at which 50% or households in the county earn less and 50% earn more.

"It is useful in tracking income growth, which is associated with the ability of residents to meet their needs and comparing economic conditions across counties," the report said.

Unemployment rate

Yamhill has among the lowest rates of unemployment among the state's 36 counties with 3.8%, placing it at No. 30.

"Unemployment has an impact on the individuals who are without work, their families and their communities," the report found. "The purchasing power of those workers is lost, as are the goods and services they might have produced."

Although the county's unemployment rate is relatively low, so is the percentage of job growth at 6.1%, placing it in 15th place in the state. Job growth, the report said, is an essential measuring tool of economic vitality and tracks closely with a county's productivity.

Life expectancy

If you live in Yamhill County you can expect to live to about 80, the report found, placing the county in a five-way tie with Wallowa, Polk, Union and Sherman counties for tenth place on the list. Benton County residents are expected to live the longest in the state, the report found, with a life expectancy of 83 years.

"Increasingly, researchers report strong connections between life expectancy and geography because so many social environmental, behavioral and biological factors contribute to this outcome," the report found.

Vaccination rate among 2-year-olds

Seventy-six percent of children 2 years old in Yamhill County are up-to-date on their vaccinations, the report said, placing the county at fifth in the state.

"Vaccines have prevented countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives," the report stated. "The economic impact of prevented disease due to vaccines and the foregone cost of treatment is significant when compared to vaccination costs."

Good physical health

Yamhill is in the middle of the pack in 18th place in the percentage of adults who report that they had no poor physical health days in the prior month, the report found.

"Poor physical health can disrupt daily activities, even if the symptoms do not require medical attention. …," it continued. "Research shows that counties where residents report fewer unhealthy days also tend to have lower rates of disability, unemployment, poverty and mortality."

However, the study also found that more than 32% of Yamhill County residents use tobacco products in their various forms.

"Tobacco use is the No. 1 contributor to preventable death in Oregon," the report said. "It is a risk factor for developing chronic conditions and worsens outcomes for people with chronic conditions."

Childcare

The number of slots per 100 children that are available for childcare is 14 in Yamhill County, tying it with five other counties in the state.

"All 36 Oregon counties are considered childcare deserts, which means for every regulated childcare slot, there are at least three children who might fill it," the report said. "As a result, many families across Oregon cannot find childcare for their children."

Race/Ethnicity

Although the report didn't break down the racial make-up by county, it did indicate that Yamhill was among those rural counties whose make-up is 83.9% white, 9.8% Hispanic/Latino and 2.8% a mix of two or more races. Urban counties in Oregon are 72.5% white, the report found, while the state overall is 76% white.

"Understanding the distribution of racial and ethnic groups within communities is essential for promoting equal opportunity and addressing policies and practices that create barriers for underserved populations," the report said.

Land area

The gist of the report is that Yamhill County is 32nd in size among the 36 counties in the state at roughly 678 square miles. First on the list is Harney County in southeastern Oregon; it tops more than 10,226 square miles. The only counties smaller than Yamhill are Columbia, Benton, Hood River and Multnomah.

"As a measure, land area communicates the amount of physical space a county has as a resource," the report stated. "It also suggests the scope of demand for infrastructure on local governments and provides insight about the distances residents may need to travel in order to access employment, education, resources and services.

About 16% of the land within Yamhill County is publicly owned, the report also found. Malheur County is southeastern Oregon tops the list as it is 78.4% publicly owned.

Developed or cultivated land

PMG FILE PHOTO - Yamhill is third on the list of counties where land has been developed for farming or development at 44.8%, following only Marion and Washington counties.

Yamhill is third on the list of counties where land has been developed for farming or development at 44.8%, following only Marion and Washington counties.

"The conversion of land to developed or cultivated status also can indicate economic growth in the county," the report found.

Food insecurity

According to the report, 10.8% of the population of Yamhill County "have limited or uncertain access to adequate food," placing it at 32nd on the list.

"Food insecurity has profound negative impacts on the well-being and success of individuals, families and communities," the report said. "It is one way to represent households at social and economic risk. … Food-secure households have consistent access to safe and nutritional foods without needing to resort to emergency food sources, scavenging, stealing or other coping strategies."

Child poverty

Child poverty is defined by the report as the percentage of individuals under 18 years of age who are living in families whose income falls below the federal poverty level for their family size. In Yamhill County, that constitutes 19.8% of the population, placing it 18th among the state's 36 counties.

"Poverty can limit a child's social, educational and personal development due to reduced access to basic necessities and opportunities," the report stated. "Children experiencing poverty are less likely to be successful in school, are more likely to have negative health outcomes, have greater difficulty accessing the job market later in life and are more likely to commit crimes, all of which results in a greater demand for services. High rates of child poverty can limit community progress."

Along the same lines, roughly 4.4% of children living in Yamhill County are in foster care, placing the county 30th on the among the state's 36 counties.

"In addition to the trauma of instability at home, children in foster care often encounter instability in many facets of their life — education, for example," the report said.

Index crime

Defined as the number of murders, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and arson crimes per 1,000 of residents, the level of index crime in Yamhill County is 21.2%, placing it 18th in the state.

"Crime rates are a measure of the relative safety of an area, but crime also has important social and economic influences on communities," the report said. "High rates of crime are associated with population mobility, weaker attachment of residents to their community, less local involvement and lower home values."

Voter participation

Just slightly more than 69% of Yamhill County residents registered to vote actually cast a ballot in the 2018 mid-term elections, the report said, placing the county 18th as far as voter participation in the state.

"Voter participation has long served as a secondary measure of social capital," the report said. "The relationship between voting and social connections has been heavily researched with little consensus."

Kindergarten ready, third grade reading, ninth grade on track

PMG FILE PHOTO - Those Yamhill County youths ready to begin kindergarten is in the middle of the pack as local children successfully identified 7.7 of the 26 letters in the alphabet in a recent survey.

Those Yamhill County youths ready to begin kindergarten is in the middle of the pack as local children successfully identified 7.7 of the 26 letters in the alphabet.

"The letter sounds score is highly correlated with reading ability and future academic success," the report said.

However, the report also found that the percentage of the county's third grade students who meet or exceed reading scores set by the state is at 48.6%, placing it tenth on the list.

"In third grade, students are expected to begin reading independently, if they are not doing so already," the report found. "For the rest of their schooling, students' ability to read confidently and proficiently will directly impact their likelihood of learning successfully in every subject area."

Also on the education front, the study determined that the county is lagging behind on ninth grade students who have attended school regularly and successfully completed all required courses during their first year of high school. Coming it at 83.4% and 21st place, the county's school districts face significant challenges.

"The ninth grade academic year serves as a pivotal point of transition for students," the report said. "Being academically on track in ninth grade predicts future academic success, especially a greater likelihood of high school completion across all demographics."

Five-year high school graduation rate

Students in Yamhill County are 10th most likely to graduate in Oregon, the report found, at an 85.8% rate.

"High school graduations indicate a community's well-being as well as the skill of its workforce," the report said. "Over the last few decades, the gap in wages between those with a high school diploma and those without one has provided strong incentive for students to complete high school."

The county saw a tenth-place listing of students who earn a four-year or greater college degree, with a rate of 26.5%.

Property taxes (per person)

The average person in Yamhill County pays $1,224 in property taxes, the report found, placing it 22nd on the list of 36 counties. The rate is a fraction of top-taxing counties, such as Gilliam, which levies $4,531 in property taxes annually on its residents. The average for the state is $1,548.

Rental costs

Yamhill County's proximity to the Portland area means its rate for a one-bedroom apartment is on par with Clackamas, Columbia, Washington and Multnomah counties at $1,132 per month.

Broadband access

The ability of people to access the Internet for everything from education to entertainment is the 18th best in the state in Yamhill County at 88.9%.

"The Internet has changed the way people access information, shop, work, view entertainment and attend school," the report said. "Today, access to high volume data transfer rates has become a key requirement for economic and community development as well as education."

Median income

Yamhill County's median income is $59,484, placing it seventh in the state behind Washington, Clackamas, Multnomah, Deschutes, Hood River and Columbia counties.

The classification is defined in the report as the household income value at which 50% or households in the county earn less and 50% earn more.

"It is useful in tracking income growth, which is associated with the ability of residents to meet their needs, and comparing economic conditions across counties," the report said.

Transit service

Yamhill is among the top 10 counties for providing transit services to its residents, the report found, although the percentage of those residents that have access is still below half at 47.7%.

"Public transit is an essential service for those who do not or cannot drive," the report said. "It allows individuals without a private means of transportation to remain connected in their communities, reach jobs, access medical care and meet other basic needs."


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